The goal of this project was to design a free student-facing tablet app to make word practice more fun and engaging. In addition to their Being a Reader™ classroom lessons, this app provides students with additional word work practice games such as:
- Build That Word!
- players build words using a set of letter tiles
- Sort It Out!
- Closed sorts—players sort words into specified categories
- Open sorts—players decide on the categories the want to sort words into
Illustrations are by Michael Wertz.
Assumptions and Considerations
Intended for use by Being a Reader K–2 students and teachers. Considerations the team needed to keep in mind:
- The number of word solutions will differ depending on the week’s lesson.
- Games should be able to be played by individuals, pairs, or groups.
- Screen-specific audio help will be provided on every screen so that students don’t need a lot of teacher support.
- The word sequences needed to mirror the lessons to reinforce the practice.
- The free app needed to work on Apple iOS and Android tablet devices and display in landscape only.
- The users in this case basically fell into three categories:
- Grades K–2 Being a Reader students and their teachers using the games as additional word study practice for weekly lessons
- Field staff using it as a marketing tool when introducing Being a Reader to potential customers
- Other users, with documentation about how the learning happens provided in the app so that anyone who downloads it can use and get value out of it.
’Berta worked closely with the team to design the wireframes and conceptualize the play scenarios. She and the team also:
- chose an illustrator with a fun, engaging style and provided him with the wireframes, which he redrew in his style.
- iterated the scenes, interactive elements, and functionality to be intuitive for players.
- tested and retested the releases and gave extensive feedback to the developers.
- determined the sequence of play, and suggest rewards at the end of completed games.
- provided all assets to the developer to create the final screens and animations.
’Berta’s Process: Sketches and Wireframes
’Berta created rough wireframes to determine all the game scenarios and elements. This was not a particularly visual team, so it was necessary to provide specific visual examples. The illustrator then took these rough wireframes and sketched in his style—adding his own creative touches and humor.
Final Results and Deliverables
- This is the first student-facing product for Collaborative Classroom, and will be the litmus test for future product development.
- This app is closely aligned with, and reinforces, the lesson sequences and pedagogy.
- The app launched to much anticipation by Being a Reader teachers and field staff, who are excited to show it to their customers.
Check out the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
From the home screen, the player chooses a game type and goes to a selector screen to choose the lesson week. Players can navigate from all screens back to the Home screen via the Home icon.
Build That Word Game Screen—Cargo Ship
- Students listen to words being said, then use the tiles to assemble them in the build area.
- Once the tiles are all assembled and the game is solved, there is an animated reward.
Open Sort Game Screen
Open-ended sorting games let students organize words by sound, meaning, spelling, or any other attribute.